No.2 TWU Spartans Take on Visiting Manitoba in Women’s Volleyball

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January 16, 2013, LANGLEY, BC (ISN) – The No. 2 Trinity Western women’s volleyball team will look to continue its home dominance this weekend as it takes on the Manitoba Bisons Friday at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 5:00 p.m. at the Langley Events Centre. Both games will be streamed live at www.canadawest.tv.

 

The Spartans, who are 12-2 on the season, have looked at their best on the LEC centre court, as they are 7-0 at home. With four regular season weekends left in the season, the Spartans, who sit second in Canada West, still have eyes on top spot as they look to catch No. 1 UBC Thunderbirds, who currently leads the conference with a 13-1 record.

Last year, the Spartans travelled to Manitoba in late-January where they defeated the Bisons both nights, 3-1 and 3-0.

TRINITY WESTERN SPARTANS (12-2)

CIS ranking: 2nd

Canada West position: 2nd

  • Last Weekend: Brandon 3-1 W, 3-1 W
  • Streak: 3 wins
  • 2011-12 Canada West record: 13-7 (4th)
  • 2012 CW playoffs: 3-1 (3rd)
  • 2012 CIS tournament: 2-1 (5th)

The Spartans opened up the second semester on a strong note this past weekend with two convincing wins against a scrappy Brandon team. With first place in Canada West still a goal, the Spartans will have to come out strong once again as they seek to earn a weekend sweep over a young Manitoba side.

The Spartans have shown they are not only a talented team, but one with depth as well. Carly Hamilton (Calgary) has provided stability off of the bench, often being used as a serving sub, and, other times, as a full-time left side player. Look for coach Ryan Hofer to use Hamilton as well as potentially filtering in a number of his depth players, including Sophie Carpentier (Ottawa), Chelsea Wand (Langley), Lauren Moncks (Standard, Alta.) and Chelsea Fitchette (Walnut Grove, B.C.) as the weekend unfolds.

However, Trinity Western’s starters have not given Hofer much need for substitutions. Leading the way for the Spartans has been middle Alicia Perrin (Creston, B.C.), with a conference best .368 hitting percentage, as well as averaging 1.27 blocks per set (2nd in Canada West). Getting it done from the baseline has been setter Kelci French (Okotoks, Alta.), who leads the team with 0.80 service aces per set (1st in CW). Libero Kristen Moncks (Standard) has been a vital addition to the Spartans back court play, as she leads the team with 3.15 digs per set (3rd in CW).

With French’s next ace, she will set the Spartans record for most aces in a season. After collecting six aces last weekend against Brandon, she has 36 on the year, which has her tied with former Spartan and current TWU assistant coach Lies Reimer, who accomplished the feat twice, in 2001-02 and 2002-03. The Canada West record is 41, which is was set by Winnipeg’s Lauren Sears last season.

As a team, the Spartans are one of the most difficult sides to score against in the conference. They have held their opponents to a conference-leading .068 hitting percentage, which has been product of an impressive block, which is averaging 2.53 blocks per set (2nd in CW), and an aggressive serving game, which is averaging 2.73 aces per set (1st in CW).

The Spartans haven’t lost to Manitoba at home since Jan. 10, 2009, when they fell in a five-setter at TWU’s David E. Enarson Gym.

MANITOBA BISONS (7-7)

CIS ranking: NR

Canada West position: 6th (tied)

  • Last Weekend: Mount Royal 3-2 L, 3-2 L
  • Streak: 2 losses
  • 2011-12 Canada West record: 11-9 (6th)
  • 2012 CW playoffs: 0-2 (5th, tied)
  • 2012 CIS tournament: N/A

The Manitoba Bisons enter this weekend in the middle of the Canada West standings and will look to improve on their current .500 record when they face Trinity Western Friday and Saturday nights.

Ken Bentley, now in his 27th year as coach of the Bisons women’s volleyball program, finds himself with one of the youngest rosters in the league, but also one of the most promising. With only one senior player in libero and captain, Nicole Hall (Winnipeg), Bentley is attempting to guide this youthful group to a playoff spot in the ever-competitive Canada West conference. Through 14 matches, he’s got the Bisons well within the mix.

The Bisons roster is comprised of 13 athletes in their first or second year, two third-years and one fifth-year. One of the keys to this young squad’s success has been the addition of second-year leftside Taylor Pischke (Winnipeg), daughter of Bison’s men’s team coach and Canadian volleyball legend, Garth Pischke. Pischke transferred from the University of California at Santa Barbara, where she played her first year of eligibility. Through seven matches, she is averaging 2.76 kills per set.

This weekend, the Bisons will need another big outing from outside hitter Rachel Cockrell (Winnipeg). Cockrell leads the confernce with 3.87 kills per set, and is ninth in hitting percentage, with a .275 average. Cockrell has proven to be one of the best scorers in the Canada West, averaging 4.37 points per set (1st in Canada West). Defensively, the team is led by Hall, who is averaging 3.82 digs per set (1st in CW).

As a collective, the Bisons have followed in Hall’s footsteps and become a defensively minded team. They lead Canada West with 14.56 digs per set, which is close to a full dig per set ahead of the second best team. The Bisons are hitting .189 per cent as a team (6th in CW), and have scored 11.83 kills per set (4th in CW).

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